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Army school to LeT ranks?

In 1974, two childhood friends Daood Gilani, alias David Coleman Headley, and Tahawwur Rana joined Pakistan’s Hasan Abdal Cadet College (HACC) at Rawalpindi. Presley Thomas & Stavan Desai report.

mumbai Updated: Nov 18, 2009 00:36 IST

In 1974, two childhood friends Daood Gilani, alias David Coleman Headley, and Tahawwur Rana joined Pakistan’s Hasan Abdal Cadet College (HACC) at Rawalpindi.

Thirty-five years later, both are in US custody for allegedly planning terror attacks in India and Denmark for the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT), the Pakistan terror outfit involved in 26/11.

Like India’s National Defence Academy, the HACC is the feeder institution for the Pakistani military. Security agencies are now investigating if Headley or Rana had served Pakistani armed forces before moving to the US and Canada, respectively.

The National Investigation Agency is also investigating if the two, using their military knowledge, had surveyed military establishments other than the National Defence College.

On November 3, the FBI challenged Rana’s bail plea. It mentioned a September 7 phone conversation in which Headley and Rana “discussed Denmark and other targets, including the National Defence College...”

Also in the sights of security agencies is former Pakistani army major Haroon Ashiq and his brother Captain Khurram. Khurram, sources say, is associated with LeT’s chief-of-operations Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

Ashiq is charged with the murder of Pakistani army Major General Amir Faisal Alvi, General Officer Commanding of Pakistan’s Special Services Group, and brother-in-law of V.S. Naipaul.

Investigations have also found that Headley and Rana were members of Yahoo’s Internet group ‘abdalians’ – meant exclusively for graduates of HACC.